Texas Couple Released From Prison After 21 Years

A Texas couple has been released from prison after serving 21 years for alleged child abuse. Both Dan Keller and his now ex-wife Fran were convicted of child abuse charges that were argued to have involved satanic rituals. The pair was convicted in 1992 and were each sentenced to 48 years in prison.

The pair was released recently amid concerns related to the evidence used in the case. Specifically, evidence was offered during the trial that the couple, who had operated a preschool out of their home, had performed satanic rituals and committed sexual abuse against three children. Therapists had testified during the trial that they were successful in helping the children recover memories related to the abuses.

However, the only physical evidence offered was from the testimony of an emergency room doctor who had stated that one child exhibited evidence of abuse after the doctor had observed internal lacerations on the child. While at the time, the doctor claimed that these lacerations were signs of abuse, he recently has publicly stated that they were actually normal physiology.

After the statement by the doctor was made earlier this year, county prosecutors met and agreed that the evidence should be considered faulty and that the Kellers must be released.

The doctor’s statement came not too long after the Kellers had submitted an appeal to the court in January 2013. In the appeal, the Kellers allege Austin police of withholding vital evidence that would have proven the couple’s innocence. The Kellers also accuse the judge of allowing prosecutors to introduce “unscientific psychological” evidence at the trial by a witness who was unqualified to testify on the matter.

Child abuse is a very serious crime in Texas as well as the rest of the country. A variety of situations may constitute child abuse and penalties associated with a conviction can be quite severe. Forms of abuse may include:

  • Physical or emotional injury;
  • Sexual abuse;
  • Sexual exploitation;
  • Physical neglect;
  • Medical neglect; or
  • Inadequate supervision.

Furthermore, juries may look at several different indicators of abuse when making its determination. These circumstances are often introduced and explained by medical professionals during the trial and can very likely lead to a conviction.

Examples of these indicators may include the location and severity of a wound, unique or patterned wounds, and any head injuries or unexplained deaths. While this testimony and evidence may be important, it must be true and properly admitted to the court. Unfortunately, there are too many examples, like the Kellers, where evidence was allowed that should not have been and a defendant is wrongfully convicted.

When faced with child abuse charges, it is vital that you align yourself with an experience and competent defense attorney who understands the laws and will make sure that your rights are protected during the trial and throughout the entire process.

Our firm represents clients from both Dallas and Collin counties and we have devoted our practice to defending individuals who have been criminally charged. Contact the professionals at The Wilder Firm today!